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Movie Review: Yogi Bear

December 17, 2010

Yogi Bear – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

Release Date: December 17th, 2010

Rated G for cartoon animation/action

Running time: 80 minutes


Eric Brevig (dir.)


Jeffrey Ventimilia (writer)

Joshua Sternin (writer)

Brad Copeland (writer)


John Debney (music)


Dan Aykroyd as Yogi Bear (voice)

Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo (voice)

Anna Faris as Rachel

Tom Cavanagh as Ranger Smith

T.J. Miller as Ranger Jones

Nathan Corddry as Chief of Staff

Andrew Daly as Mayor Brown

Josh Robert Thompson as Narrator (voice)


Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

(L-r) Boo Boo, as voiced by JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, and Yogi Bear, as voiced by DAN AYKROYD, in Warner Bros. Pictures’ live-action/computer-animated adventure in 3D, “YOGI BEAR,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.


Our reviews below:


Yogi Bear Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

The lovable pic-a-nic basket stealing bear and his pint-sized sidekick are back in this big screen adaptation of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  But is there a good movie to surround the beloved main characters?  It certainly isn’t bad, but it could have been more original.


The first scene of the film is classic Yogi Bear, as he swoops through the air to steal a family’s lunch.  Then we get introduced to Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) and his ineptly obnoxious rival, Ranger Jones (T.J. Miller).  A ditzy documentary filmmaker, Rachel (Anna Faris), is also visiting Jellystone Park in hopes of getting a chance to chronicle the rare talking bears.


The problem is, the sleazy Mayor Brown (Andrew Daly) and his ‘yes man’ (Nathan Corddry) have plans to shut down Jellystone and rezone the land for housing.  The story quickly becomes environmental, which is fine, but these themes feel more tacked on than sincere.  The stuff with the adult humans of the male and female variety is no smarter than the average kids entertainment.  Anna Faris and T.J. Miller are particular low points and could have been left out.


Perhaps the only reason for adults to see the movie is for the genuinely good scenes between Yogi & Boo Boo.  Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake are perfectly cast in their voice roles, always capturing the true spirit of the cartoon.  There are several clever scenes with the bears that are delightfully reminiscent of the classic show.  The problem is, we should have gotten nearly an entire movie just centered around the CG characters.


The native 3D effects are well done, but the film exploits the third dimension at every turn.  Mere words can’t do justice to all the clichés, so lets just say that if you took a sip of beverage for every object that is thrown or spit at the screen, it would turn into a very dangerous drinking game.


Yogi Bear may not be any smarter than the average kids movie, but it is adequate 3D entertainment for younger audience members.  The scenes with the “smarter than average” bears are delightfully amusing, but I just wish that the entire movie had proven a better homage to the beloved cartoon that can be equally enjoyed by those of all ages.


Yogi Bear Review By Erin V.

**1/4 (out of 4)

Based on the classic 2D animated Hanna-Barbera cartoons, this is a all-new CGI/live-action hybrid Yogi Bear feature.  In this story, Jellystone Park is in danger of being rezoned for logging, and Yogi (Dan Ackroyd) and Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake) have to find a way to save it.


The storyline by nature is environmental, but it seems to be more by necessity of something to drive a Yogi Bear adventure forward for 80 minutes.  And what’s easier to drive a story that takes place in a (fictional) national park than an environmental storyline?  I’m not saying I minded this route, I’m just saying a film like Furry Vengeance is environmental first – this is Yogi first, all the way.


Admittedly, Yogi Bear is better than I thought it would be.  Even despite it’s in-your-face 3D, it wasn’t painful to sit through and had it’s amusing qualities – mostly during the Yogi and Boo Boo scenes.  Still, it is clearly (of course) geared to the younger members of the audience, and that’s who will really enjoy it.


Yogi Bear Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Yogi Bear is back in this live action/animated kids flick.  Once again, Yogi and Boo Boo find inventive ways to steal pic-a-nic baskets from campers, much to the frustration of head ranger Smith.  A wildlife documentary filmmaker, Rachel (Anna Faris) had heard of Jellystone Park’s smarter than average bears, and has come to film them for the park’s centennial.


Trouble is, attendance to Jellystone (which is municipally run) is down.  The local mayor, who is running for governor, wants to rezone the park as agricultural land, clearcut it and sell it to developers.  Can Yogi, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith and Rachel save the park before it’s too late?


Although similar themed movies such as Furry Vengeance and Over the Hedge were better, I still really liked the way Yogi Bear handled the environmental themes.  After all, there really are greedy politicians who side with developers in the guise of “saving the city money.”


While not as good as the cartoon, Yogi Bear is still an entertaining movie.  At 80 minutes, it doesn’t feel too long.  The bears are cute, the film has no objectionable content, and the story has a good message.


Yogi Bear Review By Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Yogi Bear is well-known for being ‘smarter than the average bear.’  It’s too bad this Yogi Bear movie isn’t any smarter than the average kids movie.  Not that it’s a bad movie, especially if you’re under 10 years old.  It’s just that the human characters here aren’t that interesting to watch.


The storyline about Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) joining forces with his love-interest, documentary filmmaker Rachel (Anna Faris) to save Jellystone Park from the greedy Mayor (Andrew Daly) and his tree-cutting plans is completely predictable and fails at any attempts to be funny.  Ranger Smith’s bumbling sidekick Ranger Jones (T.J. Miller) is just plain annoying to watch.


The only reasons for going to see Yogi Bear in 3D would be Yogi and Boo Boo themselves.  The CGI bears are an absolute hoot.  Dan Ackroyd voices Yogi, and Justin Timberlake voices Boo Boo.  Both actors do an amazing job at capturing the voice and personality of these iconic Hanna-Barbera characters.  Yogi and Boo Boo steal every scene they’re in.  The other scene stealer is the in-your-face 3D.  The filmmakers have made sure audience members get their money’s worth for the 3D premium ticket price.


If you’ve got kids who are just bouncing to see a movie in theatres this holiday season, Yogi Bear in 3D is an adequate choice.  Grown ups who are nostalgic for the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from their childhood might want to track those down instead.


Yogi Bear Review By Tony

** (out of 4)

Yogi Bear (voiced by Dan Aykroyd) will do anything to steal “pick-a-nic” baskets in Jellystone Park, ignoring any warnings from straight man bear Boo Boo (voiced by Justin Timberlake) and outsmarting Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) every time. This was the premise of the 1960s Hanna-Barbera series, that overcame cheap animation quality with good writing and clever gags, delivered in small doses. Just as attempts to stretch out sketch comedy into feature length don’t often work too well (Aykroyd’s Coneheads being just one example), Yogi Bear is only partially successful, a sure hit for kids but just tolerable for the rest of us. The predictable plot involves a budding romance between Smith and documentary filmmaker Rachel (Anna Faris), the inept assistant Ranger Jones  (T.J. Miller) and a vile mayor (Andrew Daly) and his toady (Nathan Corddry) who want to shut down the park and sell it to developers. The CGI bears, resembling talking mascots, are amusing enough with Aykroyd and Timberlake nailing the voices, but I still preferred the originals. (see below.)


I also recently enjoyed the DVD reissue of Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper, featuring cameos from many of the H-B characters. Not having seen most of this material for over 40 years, and then only in black and white, I especially appreciated the voice acting, mainly from Dawes Butler, H-B’s counterpart to WB’s Mel Blanc, with vague impersonations of distinctive celebrities. The bright colours were also interesting, from blue [tick?] Huckleberry Hound to the pink mountain lion Snagglepuss, who with a voice somewhere between Paul Lynde and Bert Lahr’s “dandy lion” was in hindsight an obvious gay stereotype.


Consensus: Although the stuff between the “smarter than average” bears is amusing, the rest of this Yogi Bear movie is no smarter than the average kids entertainment.  It is an adequate 3D diversion for kids, but everyone else can just watch the original cartoons. **1/4 (Out of 4)

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